PACDC testified in support of four transfer ordinances on November 12, 2019 that would significantly boost funding for commercial corridors, affordable housing, and the Philadelphia Land Bank. Read our testimony here. The ordinances were approved by City Council’s Appropriations Committee that afternoon and are expected to be approved on final passage on November 21st before heading for Mayor Kenney’s signature.
The ordinances approve $10 million for the PHL-TCB or “Philadelphia Taking Care of Business” program championed by Councilmember Cherelle Parker that would provide $1 million in new funds for each of the 10 City Council districts for commercial corridor cleaning. This would boost commercial corridor cleaning dollars by more than five-fold throughout the city! The bills would also provide $400,000 for the Business Security Camera Program, which offsets the cost of installing external cameras to improve safety and security. The program ran out of funds and is no longer accepting applications. Another $2.5 million would boost capital investment on commercial corridors, such as repairing or replacing sidewalks, curbs, lighting, and more.
The Housing Trust Fund will also get a boost in funding by another $8 million in the ordinances, which will support affordable housing production, and help continue the Philly First home buying program, as championed by Council President Clarke, Councilmembers Sanchez, Squilla, Parker and others. In just five months, the program has approved 545 grants for a total of $4.7 million to help low and moderate income households become first time home buyers and benefit from a strengthening housing market.
The Philadelphia Land Bank will receive $5.05 million in new funds to support its core operations, as well as to acquire new vacant, tax delinquent properties for future re-use or development as homes, commercial spaces, side yards or gardens.
Another $25 million is set aside in the ordinance to start implementation of smart ideas that will emerge from the City Council Special Committee on Poverty Reduction and Prevention. PACDC staff and members are serving on this committee to investigate policies and programs on housing, jobs, and the social safety net aimed at lifting 100,000 Philadelphians out of poverty. The Committee aims to issue a report in early 2020 with priority recommendations identified that the funds can support.
PACDC applauds City Council and the Kenney Administration for these new investments that will create a more equitable Philadelphia!